New and Improved Greenhouses
Deliflor, the largest breeder of Chrysanthemums worldwide, is continually looking for ways to improve their product lines and introduce new products. To that end, three years ago, Deliflor opened the doors to its new facilities in Rio negro, in the Antioquia region of Colombia. These facilities were put in place to evaluate the growth of new plant introductions under tropical conditions.
They built a total area of 1.1 hectares (2.7 acres), half for evaluation and half for mother plants. While doing so, they achieved all the necessary certifications to carry out the evaluation of different varieties: Producer Certification, Exporter Certification, Importer and Exporter Certification of Plant Material, and Certification of Plant Breeding Unit.
The greenhouses are designed to take advantage of maximum luminosity, with natural and artificial ventilation to create the best possible conditions for plant growth. Rainwater is collected in reservoirs and used for the irrigation of the crops, through efficient systems such as drip irrigation and nebulization.
Each variety is evaluated for its resistance to, or tolerance of, the main pests and diseases that affect chrysanthemums. This is done using biotechnology tools such as molecular marker-assisted selection, as well as selection in the field using protocols that indicate the level of susceptibility of a clone to a particular disease or pest. By doing this, Deliflor is able to deliver a product to a client with full information on which pests and diseases it is resistant to or tolerant of, and to which pests or diseases it is sensitive or susceptible.
As to the integrated management of pests and diseases, Deliflor focuses on the biological management of the crop, with applications of microorganisms to the soil and plant extracts to the foliage. Deliflor is part of the FlorVerde Sustainable Flowers program of Asocolflores, the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters. Florverde was established to improve the lives and living standards of floral farm workers and their families; to preserve and protect the environment for the industry’s farmers for generations to come; and to ensure high-quality, affordable flowers for customers year-round.
New Led Technology
Deliflor has also implemented the use of LED technology in the areas of propagation and production, with specific light bulbs for propagation and specific light bulbs for production. In this way, they contribute to energy savings and increase the efficiency of the plants by using only the necessary wavelengths for plant growth.
They also installed a series of sensors inside the greenhouse. This allows them to measure variables in real time such as temperature and relative humidity in the air, temperature and humidity in the soil, electrical conductivity, and amount of radiation PAR and light PAR accumulated per day. Having a system in place that takes all these variables into account will allow them to automate drip irrigation and nebulize the rooting room this year. Additionally, they will be able to build models for the prediction of harvests based on the amount of energy received.